A hinged joint with a highly complex anatomy, the elbow consists of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus) and the two forearm bones (ulna and radius). The bones are held together by ligaments that form the elbow joint capsule, a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and lubricates the joint. The ends of the bones are coated with cartilage, a flexible tissue that allows the bones to glide smoothly against each other during movement.
The elbow anatomy also includes tendons, which attach the bones to the muscles that bend and straighten the wrist and fingers. The biceps tendon attaches the radius to the biceps muscle on the front of the arm, and the triceps tendon attaches the ulna to the triceps muscle on the back of the arm.
Also part of the elbow anatomy are three main nerves—the radial nerve, ulnar nerve and medial nerve—which originate in the shoulder, pass through the elbow and travel down the forearm. Those nerves are responsible for signaling the arm, wrist and hand muscles to move and also relay sensations, such as pain, hot and cold.
Elbow Injuries Require Specialized Care
Elbow pain has two main causes: trauma and overuse. Many elbow injuries result from a sudden traumatic event, such as a direct blow or a fall onto an outstretched arm. Other elbow injuries develop gradually from repetitive strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint. In many cases, this type of damage occurs over time with activities that involve frequent flexion and extension of the elbow, such as swinging a tennis racquet.
Due to the complexity of the elbow anatomy, both acute and chronic elbow injuries require specialized care. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you have access to one of the most well-known and respected elbow specialists in the nation. Christopher C. Schmidt, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who is widely regarded as an expert among experts. Well-versed in the intricate elbow anatomy, he often receives complex case referrals from his peers.
Over the years, Dr. Schmidt has earned a reputation for being able to “fix almost anything” that affects the elbow anatomy. He can evaluate your elbow injury and suggest an appropriate treatment plan to address it. If you’d like to meet with Dr. Schmidt at any of his three office locations in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, call (877) 471-0935 to schedule an appointment today.
Your Premiere Choice for Shoulder & Elbow Surgery